CREATIVE Scholastique Mukasonga

NWR Issue 102

Mourning

Translated by Suzy Ceulan Hughes

In the Rwandan genocide of 1994, at least 800,000 people died in just one hundred days. This translation is dedicated to those who died and to those who survived.

...From now on she’d be alone. Of course there were a few fellow Rwandans, friends she’d made at the university where she’d been repeating her studies because her African qualifications weren’t recognised in France. But there was a part of her, the part that connected her forever to those who’d stayed in Rwanda, which despite the distance, despite the passing of time, despite the impossibility of going back to see them, served as a point of attachment, an anchoring of her identity which sustained her will to live. These links were about to disappear, and their loss would leave her cut off and alone.

She felt she’d become fragile. ‘I’m like an egg,’ she kept saying to herself, ‘the slightest thing and I’d break.’ She observed her movements, which seemed slower than they had been. She was walking as though feeling her way forward, as though she might at any moment come up against an obstacle which would trip her up. ...

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